Experienced skydiver dies in weekend accident in Gimli, Man., RCMP say

A 53-year-old woman from Winnipeg died in a weekend skydiving accident in Gimli, Man., RCMP say.

RCMP say the 53-year-old woman from Winnipeg was wearing all necessary safety equipment

A skydiving plane sits on the tarmac at the Gimli Industrial Park. Over the weekend, a woman who had a lot of experience died when she entered a spin and collided with the ground. (Skydive Manitoba/Facebook)

A 53-year-old woman from Winnipeg died in a weekend skydiving accident in Gimli, Man., RCMP say.

Police were called to the Gimli Industrial Park at about 7:30 p.m. on Saturday for a report of parachuting incident, RCMP said in a news release on Monday.

When officers arrived, they found an unresponsive woman on the ground receiving medical attention from others at the scene.

An RCMP officer began to assist and paramedics arrived moments later, the release said. The Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals suggested there were no ambulances in the area, which meant the first paramedics arrived more than 30 minutes after the call to emergency services.

The woman was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Investigators determined the woman, who was a very experienced skydiver, was wearing all the appropriate safety gear and there were no issues with the aircraft.

When she jumped from the plane, her parachute appeared to open at the right altitude, but she entered into a spin and hit the ground.

Skydive Manitoba's office administrator Garth Brown called it a "tragic event" in an email to CBC News Sunday and said the organization is assisting authorities in the investigation.

Brown asked for privacy for the family and three other people who were on board the flight at the time of the accident as they process the woman's death.

Bob Moroz, president of the MAHCP, a union that represents 6,500 Manitoba health-care workers, said initial reports suggest there were no ambulance units in the area when the accident was reported.

He said two ambulances were assigned, first from the area of Highway 4 and Highway 59, and another from Stonewall.

"Our understanding is that this caused extended paramedic response times which are reported to be in excess of 30 minutes," Moroz said in a statement. "We would like to acknowledge the bystanders on scene who provided assistance until paramedics arrived." 

Moroz said on average, rural ambulances are currently understaffed by 20 to 25 per cent right now.

"Our hearts are with the family and loved ones affected by this tragic event," he said in a statement. "MAHCP is renewing our call to Shared Health, the Minister of Health, and the Premier to address the worsening staffing shortages now."

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